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Upgrade advice


Recommended Posts

Evening all,

My current PC was built with some much appreciated advice from here (4 years ago now!), so I was hoping I might get some help choosing an upgrade / replacement.

Current specs

Gigabyte GA-870A-UD3

AMD Athlon II x4 630

4GB Corsair XMS3 DDR3 1333MHz

Sapphire HD6850 1GB GDDR5 GFX card

64GB Crucial M4 SATA III 6Gb/s SSD CT064M4SSD2 (contains Win7, used occasionally)

1TB Samsung SpinPoint 7200rpm SATA II HD103SJ (storage)

40GB OCZ Recertified Vertex 2 SATA II SSD (contains Xubuntu, used for main OS)

600W OCZ StealthXstream 2 PSU

3x 120mm Fractal Design Silent Series Cooling Fan

Arctic Cooling Alpine 64 Pro Universal CPU Cooler for AMD CPU

Thermaltake V3 case


Primarily used for web development work, so I tend to have a virtual machine running as a server pretty much constantly. My IDE seems to struggle after a few hours of use (lack of RAM?), and there's usually a load of filesystem watchers for compiling assets / running tests / etc. in the background whenever a file is changed, which gets quite slow.

I use (x)Ubuntu as the main OS, but dual boot Win7 for very occasional gaming or graphics (Photoshop) work. I'd like to be able to run GTA V, preferably not on lowest settings but that's not essential.

I've currently using three monitors and considering getting a 4K screen in the near future.

Quiet would be a bonus as well.


Up to £600, although could stretch to £900 for something substantially better and that's not going to be antiquated in a few years. But if it's more a case of 10% better performance then I'd prefer to save money.

Unfortuantely I'm still rather clueless about hardware so any pointers would be appreciated. My entirely uninformed opinion would be this (X99-S, Intel Core i7-5820K & 16GB DDR4 Vengeance LPX Memory) sounds good but don't know if it's overkill for my needs or what else is needed for a balanced system. I'd prefer to go a bit cheaper but their next bundle down (Z97-K, Intel Core i5-4690K & 8GB Vengeance Pro) is half the price, which is significantly under budget. While that's definitely not a bad thing, I don't want to end up needing to upgrade again in a year or so.

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I think that a proper quad core CPU is the way to go. From what you wrote it doesn't seem like you really need a beast like i7-5820K.


Are you going to overclock the CPU?

Edited by yojo2


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Thanks for the reply yojo2.


I don't have the patience or knowledge to overclock so probably won't - although that was one of the reasons I was tempted by the i7-5820K bundle ("One click overclock and cooling, done! One click takes care of all that complex tuning. Your PC is smart with ASUS 5-Way Optimization. ...").


I may just be getting confused here but my thinking was I'd need double the current specs: constantly running a guest OS in a virtual machine wasn't a requirement for my original build (which I think you helped pick components for originally - thanks again!), but now I want better performance from both host and guest OS.


I'm also a bit wary of going for a "gaming" bundle, but perhaps I shouldn't be. It seems like some of the cost goes towards aesthetics of the components, which is really not a factor for me.


It sounds like there's nothing worth keeping from my current system then, except perhaps the M4 SSD and 1TB HD (and case?). And would I need to give the GFX card any special consideration to run a 4K monitor + 2x 1080p monitors, or is that a fairly tame requirement these days?

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4K is still a lot, two high-end cards like GTX970 are recommended if you want to have decent framerate on high details. And that's assuming you'll use just the 4K display for gaming.


Anyway - these are my two recommendations for CPU + mobo + RAM + CPU cooler:


For overclocking:


£264.99 Intel Core i7-4790K 4.00GHz 8MB S1150 'Devils Canyon' Processor



£104.98 Gigabyte Z97X-GAMING-5 S1150 Intel Z97 4xDDR3 6xUSB3.0 8xUSB2.0 ATX



£65.40 Crucial 8GB DDR3 1866 MT/S (PC3-14900)



£85.92 Noctua NH-D15 Dual Radiator Quiet CPU Cooler with two NH-A15 Fans



For slight overclocking:


CPU: Xeon E3-1231V3 or E3-1230V3, ca. £190-200 (unavailable in dabs.com)


£84.99 MSI Z97-G55 SLI S1150 Intel Z97 DDR3 ATX



£65.40 Crucial 8GB DDR3 1866 MT/S (PC3-14900)



£25.78 CoolerMaster Hyper 212 Evo - 4 Heatpipe, Tower CPU Cooler




- I'm not sure how much RAM you need, you might get two 8GB sticks if you find it necessary;

- I'm not sure if the CPU cooler from the OC rig will fit your case;

- in the cheaper rig, you only need such expensive mobo if you're convinced you'll get two graphics cards. Otherwise you could get an even cheaper one.

- Xeon E3-1231V3 can be overclocked to 3,8GHz on all cores;

- Xeon E3-1231V3 is equal in performance to i7-4770.

Edited by yojo2


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4K + 2x 1080 monitors is pretty demanding if you want any "acceptable" refresh rate for gaming (probably something like 3x GTX 970s or 2x GTX 980s), but if you're just doing coding/web development, you may be able to get away with a simpler setup (such as a single card).


As for the X99 series (i7-5820k), if you plan on expanding, they currently allow up to 64~128GB DDR4 ram, which I do believe is good for VM (right?). You can also go with a Xeon CPU, but there aren't any "good" options at a lower price (only a 4-core @ ~225#), so the 5820k is the best option if you go that way. One thing to note is that the X99 systems require a discrete graphics card, so that "deal" you got would definitely make you go over budget.


As for the Z97 series, since you don't want to overclock, I would suggest going with a H97 series MB (if you can find one). They aren't geared towards OC, so usually are cheaper. Also, see if you can grab the "standard" CPU for cheaper than the "k" version (which is unlocked for OC). Just for example, this may be a starting point for you: http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/p/6fKLqs


As for keeping the drives, you may want to upgrade to a SATA3 SSD for the (x)Ubuntu OS. For ~40#, you can get a 120GB SATA3 SSD.


Also, I would suggest looking at this site to help plan out what to get: https://uk.pcpartpicker.com/


Anyway, hope this helps you out.

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Cheers guys, that's been a huge help.

Yep, should have said, I'd only want to use three monitors for work / office stuff.

I think yojo's right about not needing an i7. I was giving far too much weight to the number of cores, thinking another quad core wouldn't be much better than my current Athlon II 630. After reading up a bit more though, seems that's not the case at all!

So, I've put in an order for a Z97X, i5-4690k, 16GB 1866 DDR3, and a GTX970. I won't be overclocking straight away but might give it a go after a few months. I'm hoping I can get away with the stock CPU cooler until then, unless that sounds like a bad idea?

Lastly, anyone have a use for old component(s)? It's all going to scrap / recycling otherwise:

GA-870A-UD3 mobo

AMD Athlon II x4 630

4GB Corsair XMS3 DDR3 1333MHz

Sapphire HD6850 1GB GDDR5 GFX card

Thermaltake V3 case
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You can use the stock cooler for the time being. That's what it's for :p


Actually the old rig is still worth a fait bit of cash, why won't you just sell it?


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